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Is it time to end the mortgage deduction or all deductions?

Regardless of whether you benefit from deductions such as mortgage interest or not, most tax deductions were implemented to control behavior, in this case to make home purchases a little more enticing.

Excerpts:

As you might suspect, Democrats are fine with having you think that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would cut the mortgage interest deduction …

That’s even though the Republicans inserted language in their platform about the deduction, saying they would preserve the mortgage-interest break in the event that Congress fails to accomplish wider tax reform.

Meanwhile, President Obama has made clear the deduction would be safe under his watch. “I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut,” he said during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Obama never wastes an opportunity to stir up a little more of the old “class envy,” perpetuating the mistaken belief that all money the wealthy possess, permanently removes any opportunity for others to earn some of their own – that there is only a finite amount of money in our economy – and the wealthy simply took most of it away from the less fortunate.

There’s a new money supply created every day simply due to Obama’s printing presses running 24-7 to keep up with spending money he doesn’t have – but I digress.

The mortgage interest deduction was just one of many interest payments qualifying for tax deductions, which were deductible for decades. In 1986, all other interest deductions were removed from the tax code except the interest paid on mortgages and home equity loans.

Even a liberal like Froma Harrop got some things right and some things wrong in her article, “Time to end mortgage tax deduction” in the Rockford Register Star. She does seem to understand that income tax deductions provided by the IRS are government social engineering.

Excerpt:

What we see here is social engineering gone haywire. The federal government should not care whether you buy or rent your residence. Because lower-income people are more likely to rent, they are left out. Because higher-income people are more likely to have bigger houses with bigger mortgages, they benefit disproportionately. Meanwhile, the deduction is useless to those who don’t itemize, which is most taxpayers.

The higher income people, Ms Harrop, do not benefit disproportionately. They pay more in interest on the larger home and deduct the interest they pay - the same as the lower income owner. They pay more, so the deduction is more, unless we also start limiting the amount a “wealthy” homeowner can deduct by reducing the benefit proportional to their income – more socialism!

Ms. Harrop also says the mortgage deduction COSTS the Treasury about $100B a year. No, it doesn’t cost the government anything. It allows the taxpayers to keep more of their own earnings. It’s not the Treasury’s money. The government doesn’t have any money unless they take it from us – but I digress again – easy to do when you must deal with liberal doublethink.

The real answer is to get rid of all deductions, all subsidies, basically all government control of what we do to obtain tax deductions, tax credits, the mountains of receipts, tracking medical expenses, etc., time and money spent to fill out complicated forms.

How do we do that? Implement a flat tax on everything above a predetermined minimum amount, say $35,000, which is not taxed helping those who are poor – meaning the home interest deduction would be eliminated.

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21 Comments

  1. Charitable deductions should remain because they actually reduce government expenditures, by the works that these charities do. I shudder to think what would happen if the many private and religious organizations were forced to turn the recipients of their services over to the tender mercies of government bureaucracies, due to a lack of funding, or political correctness.

    We have already seen how Illinois’ adoption services were adversely affected when the Catholic Church was forced to cease their participation.

  2. Adam Faber

    Snuss, Catholic Charities was not forced out of the adoption business in Illinois. When Illinois law made it illegal to continue to discriminate against some families, Catholic Charities elected to get out of the business.

    • Ted Biondo

      Illinois forces Catholic charities to obey a law against the religion’s First Amendment rights, then to say the Catholics elected to get out of the business because of discrimination is ridiculous!!!

      Did you ever read scripture concerning marriage, Adam. That’s why the church can not adopt children according to the last whim of the government – man’s latest interpretation of discrimination!!

  3. I like the old Steve Forbes idea of doing your income tax returns on a postcard. Think of the billions wasted having the IRS look over all those forms and loopholes. Let them concentrate on collecting back taxes owed by people.

  4. @ Adam: Catholic Charities was forced to choose between their religious teachings, and running an adoption service. If you abandon those teachings, can you still REALLY be considered a Catholic?

    Catholic Charities refused to place children in homes it considered unsuitable, including those of homosexual couples. However, those couples were referred to alternative adoption agencies. That did not satisfy Gov. Jello, and his Leftist minions. So Catholic Charities did what they had to do: They obeyed their religious teachings, and stopped their successful adoption service program.

    The children were the big losers, thanks to the politically-correct Leftists running the Peoples’ Republic of Illinois

  5. Adam Faber

    “They obeyed their religious teachings, and stopped their successful adoption service program.”

    Which is not being “forced to cease their participation” as you incorrectly averred, is it? Catholic Charities had to cease their discriminatory practices, and they chose to do that by getting out of the business of discriminatory adoption services.

    “The children were the big losers…”

    The children were “big losers” when there were more loving families available to adopt said children? I’d like to see you explain that “logic”.

  6. Adam Faber

    “…to say the Catholics elected to get out of the business because of discrimination is ridiculous!!!”

    It’s factually accurate that Catholic Charities elected to exit that business because they refused to comply with Illinois law that banned discrimination. That is what happened, is it not? Is accuracy ridiculous to you, Ted?

    Can you cite any actual caselaw to back up your assertion that this law which outlaws discrimination by adoption agencies is unconstitutional or is this just another example of you irrationally calling anything that stops Catholics from imposing their religion on everyone a violation of the first amendment?

  7. Adam Faber

    “Did you ever read scripture concerning marriage, Adam. That’s why the church can not adopt children according to the last whim of the government – man’s latest interpretation of discrimination!!”

    And that’s why the Catholic church elected to get out of the adoption business. Your church does not have the right to impose its discrimination upon those of different religions. This does not constitute a violation of the first amendment as you like to claim.

    • Ted Biondo

      Adam, the Catholic Church has done more for the people of the world than you and your ilk would ever understand – just another anything-goes liberal who lives life with no rules at all and can’t stand someone having a set of standards to live by – not discrimination.

      It’s not discrimination when you force no one to participate. You liberals forced your view on us, and then say we are the one’s who are discriminating – typical of your kind!

  8. Adam Faber

    Ted, you may need a book and priest to tell you how to live your life; I, however, have morals and ethics to guide me. This is similar to how you rely on others to check your facts while I take some personal responsibility to make sure that I’m correct and factual.

    Your most recent post dodged all of the questions. Shall I take that as an acquiescence that I am, once again, correct with my facts? You haven’t cited any caselaw to back up your assertion of a constitutional violation or any factual basis to back up your claim that it is “ridiculous” to state that Catholic Charities elected to get out of the adoption business because they refused to abandon their practices of discrimination in any other way.

    It’s time for facts, not emotion.

  9. Adam, the facts are this: The People’s Republic Of Illinois gave Catholic Charities an ultimatum. Either violate the tenets of your religion, or cease providing adoption services.
    If that isn’t “forced”, I can’t think of a better definition.

    Perhaps you have never believed in something so much, that you would stand on principle for that belief. If so, you are the poorer for it.

  10. Adam Faber

    There is no “People’s Republic Of Illinois”. The state legislature passed a law which required adoption agencies to abandon discriminatory practices and Catholic Charities decided that they did not want to comply so they exited the adoption business. If you cannot think of a better use of the word “force” than voluntarily stopping a practice then you ought to consult a dictionary.

    “Perhaps you have never believed in something so much, that you would stand on principle for that belief. If so, you are the poorer for it.”

    Perhaps I am as committed to ending institutionalized discrimination as you are to perpetuating it.

  11. So, your beliefs supersede those of all others? In that case, this truly IS the People’s Republic Of Illinois, so long as people of your ilk are running it.

  12. Adam Faber

    So you support institutionalized discrimination? You’re on the wrong side of history.

  13. I support religious freedom, as stated in the Bill of Rights. That is hardly “the wrong side of history”. Liberal fascism, such as you of the Left espouse, fits that description much better.

  14. Ahh, “religious freedom,” which should be more accurately termed, “religious freedom TO DISCRIMINATE.” As for Ted’s comment that the “Catholic Church has done more for the world. . . ,” tell that to the thousands of children who’ve had their lives ruined by evil priests and the leaders who allowed it to happen. The CC is a corrupt and powerful institution. No amount of “good work” can change that.

    What happened to the discussion of the mortgage interest deduction?

    • Ted Biondo

      Good Point monkey – many times the post topic kind of disappears, but the dialog is interesting. I guess most trees have many branches!

  15. I have no problem with discontinuing the mortgage deduction, if tax rates are also lowered.

    I would also suggest that uninsured catastrophic losses and medical expenses should be deductible, along with charitable deductions. Those should be enough deductions for the average citizen.

  16. Milton Waddams

    I don’t have a problem with the mortgage interest deductions for a primary residence, but not for 2nd homes and vacation homes.

  17. I’m not worrying about losing the mortgage deduction, since it decreases over time and interest rates are at an all-time low. Losing the real estate tax and state income/sales tax deduction would hurt since taxes, as we all know, generally trend upward.

    Another point in keeping the mortgage interest deduction is that it levels the field between the rented property and owned property since the landlord is allowed to deduct mortgage interest as an expense of the property.

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